"Some people say little girls should be seen and not heard,but I think, 'Oh bondage, up yours!'"
I was very sad to hear that Poly Styrene, the front woman of ground-breaking punk band X-Ray Spex died yesterday aged fifty three after a battle with cancer. I was due to interview Poly for the blog but sadly we didn't get a date confirmed in time.
I grew up in London playing her music, I absolutely loved punk and my favourites were Identity, Germ Free Adolescents and Oh Bondage Up Yours. I used to drive my parents mad blasting it out at full volume.
Poly, whose real name was Marianne Elliott-Said released a new album Generation Indigo only last month. She had disappeared from the spotlight for many years after becoming a Hare Krishna devotee in 1983 although she came back for the occasional live performance.
Photograph © Falcon Stuart
Born in Bromley, South East London, famous for many of punk's biggest characters including Siouxsie Sioux, Steve Severin, Billy Idol, Adam Ant, Jordan, Philip Sallon, Bertie 'Berlin' Marshall and Soo Catwoman. Her father was a deposed Somalian aristocrat and her mother was an English legal secretary. The singer ran away from home at fifteen to hitch around all the music festivals. Her distinctive fashion style and braces on her teeth created an unforgettable look and won her many fans.
Photography by Mike Putland
Chrissie Hynde, Debbie Harry, Viv Albertine, Poly Styrene and Pauline Black, London 1980
Poly had many ups and downs - she was mis-diagnosed with schizophrenia which was eventually confirmed as bi-polar disorder in 1991, she even survived being hit by a fire engine.
Spending her final days in a hospice in St Leonards-On-Sea, East Sussex, her breast cancer had spread to her spine and lungs before it was diagnosed.
In a recent BBC Radio 6 interview she spoke optimistically about her battle with cancer "I'm doing everything I can to fight it. I'm taking herbal medicines, homeopathy and conventional medicines. I'm attacking it from all angles. Touch wood, I'll make it."
Carol Channing, Poly Styrene and Jackie Collins at Women of the Year Awards
A statement announcing her death said "We can confirm that the beautiful Poly Styrene, who has been a true fighter, won her battle on Monday evening to go to higher places."
There's a lovely piece from the Independent - My Secret Life - read it HERE
My friend Princess Julia interviewed Poly for Clash magazine in March, read it HERE
These songs are a big part of the soundtrack to my youth
Photography by Ian Dickson
Poly Styrene c. 1978
the future's not ours to see? I've always felt that.
It's been a roller coaster ride,
but I wouldn't change a thing"
RIP Poly Styrene, a true individual xxx